Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Eve at the Virginia (part six)

I forgot something in my rundown of the concert on Monday. It's a little piece called "Nola" which I played after the intermission.

"Nola" was written in 1915 by Felix Arndt and dedicated to his then fiancee Nola. I first ran across the piece on the internet a couple of months ago and was considering it as something to play on the concert which turned out to be a very interesting choice.

Over the holidays I had the usual problem a pianist has when he is on vacation and there is a concert coming up: where to practice? (someone once wrote to me to ask about this, and my answer is here)

That somewhere turned out to be at a relative's house nearby. My wife has several members of her family in close proximity and one of them graciously offered her piano for my daily use, without which I definitely would not have been able to make this concert happen: I simply had not gotten more than a few days of practice on some very demanding pieces before the holiday. Even if I had played most of them before, three or four days of practice is not enough, not to mention what can happen if you don't touch the piano for a week leading up to the concert!

As I told the audience at the concert, my host had only one request: that I play a certain piece for her before I left. That piece turned out to be "Nola."

After I played the piece for her, I learned that the piece had been outfitted with words (not so unusual for a piece of that era), although she could only remember a few. I relayed this to my audience and suggested they sing along if they happened to know them; if not, they could just join in the part I knew: "I'm in love, so in love with NO----LA!" which I sang for them (you're lucky if you weren't there; you missed my singing). I told them they must be in fine voice after the singalong we'd just had: they laughed.

And then I played--this--for them:  (Enjoy!)

Nola    by Felix Arndt


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